Dawn Robinson-Walsh discovers Newlyn Art Gallery near Penzance
Newlyn Art Gallery in Newlyn is a delightful discovery. Along with The Exchange, in nearby Penzance, the galleries focus on contemporary art which is of a high standard and internationally recognised.
West Cornwall has a long history of art and creativity, alongside fishing and farming. The Newlyn School was a centre of post-impressionist painting whose heyday was prior to World War I. Its reputation has remained intact.
The first painter to settle there was Walter Langley from Birmingham, who created powerful depictions of hardships, especially among the seafaring community. His friend, Edwin Harris, joined to found the artists’ colony.
The Newlyn School artists were inspired by the open air. The artists’ colony also attracted Lamorna John Birch to Cornwall in 1889, who took his name from Lamorna Cove (close to Newlyn and well worth a visit).
Newlyn Gallery has a series of temporary exhibitions, which are stylish and friendly, though will not appeal to everyone’s tastes, due to their contemporary nature. If you prefer your art classical and representative, try the Penlee Gallery in town, but if you like thought-provoking material, give this a try.
The gallery is compact but really good, with knowledgeable staff, and affordable with a low admission fee. Coffee and cake are also available in the sea view cafe.